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Is it possible to have too much good news from New Zealand media’s point of view?

Perhaps that’s the case for LanzaTech, whose proprietary bacterial fermentation technology converts waste gas streams to useful products such ethanol.

And we’re not just talking small beer. Along the way since 2005 LanzaTech has acquired outside investors too,
putting millions into further development in the expectation of even bigger paybacks in the near future.

But doing good things for the planet while making money, and developing its home base as a centre of excellence isn’t the shock, horror, ‘the world’s a basketcase’ type story media thrives on.

The Auckland-based company, which in a classic commercialisation case has taken Auckland University derived research, proved it at the Glenbrook Steel Mill, and is now partnering up in China, India and America, has found it difficult to get anyone excited about its latest award.

LanzaTech’s been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative new technology companies in the world by Red Herring.

This is the consensus view of industry leaders, venture capitalists and other financiers, entrepreneurs and companies from around the world looking at strategic shifts and disruptions that new technologies will have across all continents. Red Herring says it identifies critical trends shaping the future of technology.

And it isn’t as if there wasn’t plenty of competition. More than 1,200 potential companies were shortlisted to 200, and the final selection made from there.

As LanzaTech chief executive Jennifer Holmgren says, the award “is testament to the importance of finding new answers to our global energy challenges, answers that preserve critical food and water resources to meet human needs.”

Its technology requires no outside energy source to start or maintain the bacterial conversion, but creates ethanol and high-value chemicals from renewable non-food resources. It has expanded its portfolio to include the production of 2,3-Butenediol (2,3-BD), a key building block used to make polymers, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels such as jet fuel.

And as if its rapid expansion and collaborations aren’t enough to demonstrate the kind of roll LanzaTech’s on, it has just announced the appointment of Dr Laurel Harmon as its vice president of government relations.

Given its growing global portfolio of projects and relationships, such a role is clearly required to provide policy direction and leadership on international legislative and regulatory matters.

Operating out of LanzaTech’s Roselle, Illinois office, Harmon will also develop collaborative research and demonstration projects.

Here’s a thought though – why doesn’t the company give us some bad news……that’ll make the papers!